RSS Twitter YouTube

Composition Photo Workshop Book Review

Express Summary

Composition Photo Workshop is one of the few photography books devoted to composition. Composition, the art of placing elements within a frame, is extremely important as it gives more impact to images than any other aspect of photography. It is also the most difficult to teach since it is the basis of photography as an art.

Composition Photo Workshop

This 249-page book published by Wiley is written by Blue Fier who has been a photographer for over 20 years and holds both a Master's of Art and a Master's of Fine-Arts from California universites. The book is part of the Photo Workshop series which gets its name from the suggested exercise at the end of each chapter.

This book digs deep into its subject, dividing it into fundamental pieces including the physiology of the eye, human perception and elements of design. It also features content aimed at various types of photography. While the level of details presented in Composition Photo Workshop is intended for people struggling with the artisitic side of photography, it may seem rather heavy and dry. For those who are truly curious about how the human eye and mind react to composition, this can be quite interesting.

This book is here to completely break down compositon into more understandable principles and decisions for the photographer. It works but, while doing so, it also removes the element of intuition and produces a very safe and predictable path to composing images. For beginners, this is a path to improvement, yet it has a predictable limit. As such, this one is not recommended before photographers who already compose reasonably well and rely on intuition to guide them.

Composition Photo Workshop is available at Amazon.

Book Review

Composition Photo Workshop is written in a serious tone and is rather verbose. Few details get omitted and plenty more than needed to understand composition are also covered. There images on nearly every pair of pages, sometimes two or three. Most are accompanied by the technical settingsAperture, Shutter-Speed, Sensitivity used to take the shop. The photos themselves are rather dull and uninspiring. While this makes concepts used very clear, it diminishes the impact of the art. After all, how many people feel they will learn from someone whose images are lesser than their own?

The book is made of 11 chapters. The first two deal with perception and design. Those go through concepts in isolation from photography and can be applied this way to any visual art. This is certainly the heaviest part of the book and it does explains things very completely. Topics covered here include the eye, perspective, points, lines, shapes and the frame.

The following two chapters deal with aperture and shutter-speed in terms of their impact on composition. The former as a constraint on depth of focus, also called Depth-Of-Field, and the latter as a slice of time. Included is coverage of metering and continuous drive shooting. These short chapters contain most of the technical side of photography covered in this book.

Chapters on Light, Color and Black&White follow. This is more about seeing the light and understanding it than arranging elements directly. Instead of knowledge is taught to allow a better understanding of how composition is perceived.

Composition Photo Workshop continues with a few chapters about Portraits, Travel and Still-Life & Macro photography. Each of these chapters is written with a more practical approach than previous ones. With the exception of the travel section, the book explains how to build shots and setup its subject from the ground up. There are quite a few simple and practical rules here which is where beginners reading this book will get the most benefit.

The final chapter, called Improving Your Images, is about post-processing. Little is this chapter outside of cropping has to do with composition but modern books like to include a part on image manipulation at least to show that were written in the digital era!

Overall, this book was found to be too dense for typical readers while not having much benefit for advanced photographers. This places it in a position where it is difficult to recommend but for a particular audience which has been struggling to improve their photography using composition without success. Still, Michael Freemans's a Photographer's Eye is a much better read on the subject of composition.

By on 2011-06-28

Neocamera Blog is a medium for expressing ideas related to digital cameras and photography. Read about digital cameras in the context of technology, media, art and the world. Latest posts links:

Camera Bag

Clear

Your camera bag is empty. To add a camera or lens click on the star next to its name.

Your camera bag is empty.

Add cameras or lenses by clicking on the star next to their name.

Updates

    2020.08.04

  • 2020.08.04

    Canon RF-Lens Info

    Canon RF-Lens Info

    Info on all Canon native RF-mount lenses added to the Canon EOS R5 preview.

  • 2020.08.03

  • 2020.08.03

    Canon EOS R5 Preview

    Canon EOS R5 Preview

    Preview of the Canon EOS R5 flagship Full-Frame Mirrorless with 45 MP sensor on a 5-axis stabilization system effective to 8-stops. First 8K video capable digital camera. 20 FPS electronic and 12 FPS mechanical drive.

  • 2020.07.22

  • 2020.07.22

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Review

    Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Review

    Third-Generation OM-D that packs a 20 MP Four-Thirds CMOS on a 5-Axis Stabilization System. Fast 121-Point Phase-Detect AF, 30 FPS Continuous Drive, Cinema 4K Video and more in a weatherproof and freezeproof body. Features dual control-dials and a builtin 2.4 MP EVF with Eye-Start Sensor with 0.69X magnification and 100% coverage.

  • 2020.07.07

  • 2020.07.07

    Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Review

    Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Review

    20 MP Micro Four-Thirds Mirrorless with 7-Stop 5-Axis Image-Stabilization, 121-Point Phase-Detect AF 30 FPS Continuous Drive and Cinema 4K capability in a weatherproof and freezeproof body with dual control-dials and dual SDXC memory card slots.

  • 2020.07.03

  • 2020.07.03

    M.Zuiko 12-45mm F/4 PRO Review

    M.Zuiko 12-45mm F/4 PRO Review

    A review of the M.Zuiko 12-45mm F/4 PRO added to the Olympus Premium Lens Roundup.

  • 2020.05.05

  • 2020.05.05

    Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

    Peak Design Travel Tripod Review

    Review of the unique Peak Design Travel Tripod with its own ballhead and the universal ballhead adapter.

  • 2020.04.15

  • 2020.04.15

    Nikon Z-Mount DX Lens Roundup

    Nikon Z-Mount DX Lens Roundup

    Review of Nikon Z-Mount lenses for APS-C mirrorless digital cameras. Covers all current Z-mount DX lenses available.

  • 2020.03.25

  • 2020.03.25

    Nikon Z50 Review

    Nikon Z50 Review

    The first Nikon APS-C mirrorless is built around a 20 MP BSI-CMOS sensor with ISO 100-204800, 209-Point Phase-Detect AF, 11 FPS Drive and 4K Video capability. Compact body with dual control-dials and 2.4 MP 0.39" EVF with 0.68X magnification, 100% coverage and an Eye-Start Sensor.

  • 2020.02.08

  • 2020.02.08

    Mirrorless Digital Camera Buying Guide 2020

    Mirrorless Digital Camera Buying Guide 2020

    The Mirrorless Digital Camera Buying Guide was fully rewritten for 2020, including all new systems from Nikon, Canon and Leica joined by Panasonic and Sigma. This new extensive 2020 Edition shows in 5 simple steps how to choose a mirrorless camera.

  • 2020.01.01

  • 2020.01.01

    Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Review

    Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Review

    This highly capable and compact mirrorless ranked as Best Beginner Mirrorless Digital Camera of 2019. Its 20 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor with Anti-Alias Filter is pared with 5-axis stabilization to maximize sharpness. Features a tilting 2.8 MP 0.39" EVF with large 0.7X view and Eye-Start sensor in a body with dual control-dials.